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© Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

January 2010, Vol.36, No.1, 69-78.

Perceived Organizational Support, Work Motivation, and

Organizational Commitment as determinants of Job Performance

C. R. Darolia, Parveen Kumari, and Shashi Darolia

Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra
This study explored the extent to which perceived organizational support, work
motivation, and organizational commitment predict individual differences in job
performance workers. We expected positive relationship between POS, WM, and
OC, and their substantial contribution in predicting job performance. 231 male
skilled workers (28-45 yrs.) from different units of National Fertilizer Ltd. India
participated in the study and completed Perceived Organizational Support
Questionnaire, Employees Motivation Schedule, and Occupational Commitment
Questionnaire. The job performance of the participants was rated by their immediate
superiors through Performance Rating Scale. The findings supported the hypotheses
of modest level positive correlation between POS, OC, and WM and their significant
contribution in determining job performance. Among all the three classes of predictor
variables, POS showed highest correlation with job performance followed by WM
measure monetary gains, and affective commitment. Continuance commitment,
need for goal achievement and competition, and non financial rewards have shown
modest level association with performance. The stepwise regression identified a
set of five variables which predicted best the job performance. In close agreement
with social exchange views, perceived organizational support appeared to be most
potent predictor of job performance. Two components of work motivation, i.e.,
need for monetary gains and goal achievement and competition were found
contributing significantly to the prediction of job performance. It points to the
importance of extrinsic sources of motivation for lowly paid industrial workers but
at the same time they value intrinsic sources also. Among three components of
OC, affective and continuance commitments were the better predictors of JP.
Keywords: Perceived organizational support, Organizational commitment,
Stepwise multiple regression.
Recent research in organizational behaviour approval, affiliation, and esteem, and to
has paid due attention to the concepts that determine the organization’s readiness to
represent a departure from the traditional reward increased effort; employees form a
approach of studying work place behaviour. general belief concerning the extent to which
Exposition of the reciprocity norm to the organization thinks highly of their
employee-employer relationship is one in this contributions and promotes their welfare. Such
vein. As per the reciprocity norm an increase perceived organizational support (POS) may
in the help delivered to a recipient has been be encouraged by employees’ tendency to
found to increase the aid returned and the ascribe humanlike characteristics to their
liking for the donor (DePaulo, Brttingham, & organizations. On the basis of perceived
Kaiser, 1983). In terms of social exchange organizational support, employees infer the
theory the reciprocation of valued resources organization’s commitment to them and
fosters the initiation, strengthening, and readiness to reward greater effort. The POS
70 Determinants of Job Performance

also serves to increase the expectation of of resources should be valued more, and
material resources (e.g., pay, fringe benefits) create a greater obligation to reciprocate,
and symbolic resources (e.g., praise, among individuals with high needs compared
approval) resulting from increased work effort. with those who have low needs. If this view is
One of the important implications of POS is applied to the relationship between employees
that it may be used by employees as an and the work organization, individuals with
indicator of the organization’s benevolent or strong socioemotional needs should find POS
malevolent intent in the exchange of very rewarding, thus producing a greater
employees’ effort for reward and recognition. obligation to repay the organization with higher
The specificity of POS to a particular exchange performance.
partner (i.e., organization) and its malleability Work motivation has emerged as one of
due to experience differentiates POS from the the important organization behavior that
durable trait of reciprocation wariness. At low affects performance at work. Interest in work
POS, reciprocation-wary employees should motivation among psychologists and other
work less hard on behalf of the organization behavioural scientists who study organizations
than other employees. In contrast, at high has escalated dramatically as well (Katzell and
POS, reciprocation-wary employees should Thompson, 1990). There are obvious reasons
view the organization as willing to act as a for it; firstly the dwindling productivity of
responsible exchange partner, leading such organizations, secondly demographic
employees to increase their work effort. changes seem to have accentuated the need
Therefore, the poor performance of wary for innovative approaches to developing and
employees, stemming from their fear of retaining valuable human resources. As a
exploitation in social exchange, may be matter of fact work-motivation may be viewed
mitigated by high POS. as a broad construct pertaining to the
Recent work on social exchange theory conditions and processes that account for the
(e.g., Rhoades & Eisenberger, 2002; Whitener, arousal, direction, magnitude and
2001; Wayne, et al., 2002) suggested that maintenance of effort in a person’s job. During
employees form a general perception past two decades extensive empirical
concerning the extent to which their employer research has been done to understand the
values their contributions and cares about their implications of motivation at work place and
well being. Such perceived organizational a variety of theories have been formulated.
support (POS) may be encouraged by Hyland (1988) and Klein (1989) for example,
employees’ tendency to ascribe human-like proposed a control–theory in an effort to
traits or characteristics to organizations. It is integrate early motivational theories. Guastello
assumed that the fulfillment of socioemotional (1987) also offers a new perspective,
needs by the organization should create an suggesting that motivation may best be
obligation to reciprocate with greater work explained using non-linear catastrophe model.
effort. The obligation to repay organizational In this view, behavior is explained in
support with performance is considered to be terms and variation in either the amount of
a motive that drives work performance. energy invested in specific goals, the goals
Consistent with this view, repayment of POS themselves, or the organization of the goals.
has been found to be related to the employee’s A number of elements which enter into the
degree of acceptance of the reciprocity norm. motivational process at work and affect the
The extent of this obligation would also depend usefulness of any particular motivational
on the strength of the employees’ approach are: the individual, the job, and the
socioemotional needs. In this view, the receipt
C. R. Darolia, Parveen Kumari, and Shashi Darolia 71

work situation. On the basis of these elements, committed to the organization, top
work-motivation can be thought of at 3 levels. management, supervisors, or the work group.
First it is essential for an organization to Besides this, commitment has been examined
understand the needs of the employees, their with regard to career (e.g., Blau, 1985), union
perception of the goal setting process in the (e.g., Fullagar and Barling, 1989) and
organization, and their expectancy about being profession (e.g., Morrow and Wirth, 1989).
rewarded for their efforts. If they feel that they Therefore, organizational commitment
perform well but are rewarded poorly, their (OC) has been conceptualized and defined in
motivation will be very low. In that case, the a number of ways. One of the more popular
organization may do something to raise notions of OC is affective attachment (Mowday
expectancy and examine why expectancy is et al., 1979). More specifically, with affective
low. The second level of work motivation is commitment the individual identifies with the
the employees’ devotion to the organization. organization and, therefore, is committed to
An organization which is able to increase pursue its goals. Another view of OC comes
achievement and self-actualization motivation from Becker’s (1960) work, i.e., calculative
among its employees will have more commitment – a reflection of recognized,
committed employees. The third level of accumulated interests (e.g., pension and
motivation is the work satisfaction, which seniority) that bind one to a particular
works as feedback or an incentive to the organization. However, Mathieu & Zajac
individual. It has been noted that the (1990) and Meyer, Allen, & Gellatly (1990)
organizational setting, the nature of the job, have noted that affective/attitudinal and
the interpersonal relations at the work-place, calculative commitments are not entirely
the employee’s needs, the organizational distinguishable concepts, and that the
climate reward and personal policies, etc., are measurement of each contains elements of
likely to affect employee’s work-motivation. the other. Allen & Meyer (1990) further
Over the past decades, organizational differentiated them from another component,
commitment has been the focus of a i.e., normative commitment. The normative
considerable amount of research. Many major commitment refers to the employee’s feelings
reviews of commitment research and theory of obligation to stay with the organization:
have appeared during this period (e.g., Irving feelings resulting from the internalization of
and Coleman, 1997; Mathieu, Zajac and normative pressures exerted on an individual
Meyer 1999; Meyer & Allen 1991). With the prior to entry or following entry.
increased attention given to commitment there With the continuing research efforts a full
have been many important developments, two fledged three-component model of OC has
of these are of particular importance. First, it evolved, and measures of each component
has become apparent that commitment is a have been constructed (Allen & Meyer, 1990;
complex and multifaceted construct. For many Meyer & Allen, 1991). They described affective
years researchers and theorists have been commitment as employee’s emotional
defining and operationalizing commitment in attachment to, identification with, and
different ways, as a result, it has been difficult involvement in the organization. Continuance
to synthesize the results of the accumulating commitment refers to commitment based on
research. It is now recognized that the costs that the employee associates with
commitment can take different forms. Second, leaving the organization. Finally, normative
there has been broadening of the domain commitment refers to the employee’s feelings
within which commitment is studied (Meyer, of obligation to stay with the organization. In
Allen, & Smith, 1993). Individuals can feel
72 Determinants of Job Performance

view of changing career pattern due to global variables like turnover absenteeism etc., may
changes in work organization, organization not been seen by employees as important
loyalty is reported to be declining as turnover expressions of occupational and
rate increases, average job tenure falls, and organizational commitment. Thus the OC -
employees go “job shopping”. Therefore, a work outcome relationship needs to be
deeper knowledge of occupational explored in more details taking into
commitment is needed to better understand consideration multidimensional model of
the attitudes and behaviours of the modern occupational commitment and more specific
workforce. job related expressions of work outcome.
Rationale for the Study: Although numerous studies have
A perusal of related literature reveals that demonstrated an impressive positive
the construct occupational commitment (OC) relationship between various measures of
has widely been investigated with reference work motivation and work outcome, studies
to its relationship with a number of behaviours relating the role of intrinsic and extrinsic
favourable to organizational effectiveness. motivation have revealed ambivalent findings
There is an indication of weak and inconsistent (e.g., Keaveney & Nelson, 1993). Mahmood
relationship between OC and certain outcome and Hall (2001) observed that better
variables, like turnover, tardiness, performance and true satisfaction of the
absenteeism and work performance. The workers come from intrinsic motivations. On
disappointing results may be attributable, in the other hand, Kelley (1967) maintained that
part, to the failure in recognizing if an organization offers intrinsic motivators
multidimensional nature of the commitment while extrinsic rewards remain deficient, the
construct. Reviews of research on OC amply personnel are not likely to give good
demonstrate that most of the earlier studies performance. Conflicting findings regarding
have utilized quite different notions of relationship between certain components of
organizational commitment. Now there are motivation and work outcome may be partially
accumulating evidences in favour of three attributed to the job positions of subjects,
general themes, viz. affective, continuance, which differ study to study. This state of
and normative (Hackett et al., 1994; Meyer and enigmatic findings stimulated the present
Allen, 1991). These dimensions may correlate investigation with multivariate approach to
differently with work outcome and other work motivation covering both intrinsic and
consequence variables. extrinsic aspects.
Further low correlations reported in Further, recent years have witnessed a
occupational commitment - work outcome growing convergence of theory and research
literature may be due to the selection of on the influential role of perceived
outcome related variables. Generally organizational support (POS) in performance
researchers have explored more or less a accomplishments and other outcome related
standard set of dependent variables, e.g., behaviours. Different lines of research
tardiness, absenteeism, intent to turnover and reviewed show that higher the level of POS
turnover itself. Other behaviours favourable higher the employee’s commitment to work
to organizational effectiveness, e.g., voluntary and organization and lower the stress and
participation, work accomplishment and emotional arousal. Though there is no
quantity, sharing and value of time and evidence of direct link between perceived
resources have been studied on a less organizational support and work performance,
frequent basis. The widely investigated there is clear indication for possible mediating
C. R. Darolia, Parveen Kumari, and Shashi Darolia 73

role of this organizational variable in the these dimensions of organizational

relationship of occupational commitment and commitment are factorially distinct, though
work motivation with work performance. correlated to some extent. The authors of the
In view of the above indications the scale have reported alpha coefficients of .87,
present study was designed to examine the .75, and .79 for AC, CC, and NC scales,
relationship between POS, WM, and OC, and respectively.
their contribution in predicting job Survey of Perceived Organizational
performance. We expected positive Support: (SPOS; Eisenberger et al., 1986)
relationship between POS, WM, and OC, and measures the extent to which employees
their substantial contribution in predicting job perceived that the organization values their
performance. career, contribution and concerned about their
Method well being. It comprises 36 items referring to
evaluative judgments attributed to the
Sample: organization, which include satisfaction with
The study was conducted on a sample the employee as a member of the
of 231 male skilled workers randomly drawn organization. It has provided evidence for the
from seven units of National Fertilizer Ltd high reliability and factorial validity. The
located in Punjab, India. All the selected analysis resulted in reliability coefficient
subjects were the regular skilled workers with (Cronbach’s alpha) of .97, with item total
a minimum tenure of five years in the same correlations ranging from .42 to .83.
organization. The age of the subjects ranged (Eisenberger et al., 1986).
between 28 and 45 years with a mean of 33.6 Employee’s Motivation Schedule:
years. Minimum educational qualification of Shrivastava’s (1981). It has been developed
the subjects was matriculation. in order to assess the level of work motivation
Selected employees were contacted generated by various needs of the individual
individually in their respective work units and operating in context of various production and
their willingness to participate in the study was non-production organizations. It consists of
sought. After their voluntary consent they were 70 items pertaining to 7 different areas of work
administered the measures of perceived motivation. The author of the scale has
organizational support, organizational reported split-half reliability coefficients
commitment, and work motivation. The ranging between .72 and .81. The test-retest
immediate superiors of the selected workers reliability coefficients ranged from .79 to .86
rated their job performance. for different scales.
Measures: Job Performance Scale: (JPS)
Occupational Commitment developed by Singh and Pestonjee (1988) is
Questionnaire: Organizational commitment a Likert-type scale consisting of 14 items with
of the employees was assessed through Allen five response alternatives. The immediate
and Meyer ’s (1990) Organizational senior is required to rate how a particular
Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ). The subordinate was doing on various job areas.
questionnaire based on three-component The authors of the scale established a fairly
model (Meyer & Allen, 1987) taps three high Cronback’s alpha, i.e., .89.
dimensions of organizational commitment, viz. Results
Affective, Continuance and Normative. The Pearson correlations among all the
OCQ consists of 24 items, eight items for each twelve variables are displayed in Table 1.
dimension. Allen and Meyer (1990) noted that Here, correlation between POS and WP is of
74 Determinants of Job Performance

special interest. As predicted, POS is normative commitment. In general, the

substantially correlated with WP (r=.39, correlations between the measures of WM
p<.001). Further, POS has yielded positive and OC are low, though many of them are
correlations with all the measures of work significant and positive. As expected, all the
motivation, correlations range between .16 three components of OC correlate positively
and .38. Highest correlation is with with work performance, the correlations are
competence and self improvement (r=.38, .35 (p<.001) for AC, .30 (p<.01) for CC, and
p<.001). Its correlation with non-financial .25 (p<.01) for NC. Correlations between the
reward (r=.25, p<.01) and autonomy and self measures of WM and job performance are of
actualization (r=.24 <.01) is of modest degree. modest degree, by and large. WM measure
The correlations between POS and three monetary gains correlates highest with JP
components of OC are positive and relatively (r=.32, p<.001) followed by high production-
strong. POS correlates .36 (p<.001) with competition and non-financial rewards (both
affective commitment, .27(p<.001) with .25, p<.01).
continuance commitment, and .23 (p<.01) with
Table 1: Intercorrelation Matrix (N= 231)
AA - .58 .24 .24 .25 .18 .47 .38 .10 .19 .13 .19
AB - .29 .12 .38 .10 .44 .16 .21 .09 .06 .25
SC - .20 .27 .06 .32 .21 .21 .15 .02 .15
MG - .17 .32 .07 .21 .18 .26 .17 .32
NFR - .21 .28 .25 .28 .22 .24 .25
SAF - .35 .24 .32 .24 .10 .16
SA - .18 .30 .09 .17 .23
POS - .36 .27 .23 .39
AC - .31 .33 .35
CC - .41 .30
NC - .25
JP -
: r = .14 p< .05; r = .18 p<.01
Multiple Regression parameters p of F-to-enter = .05, and p of F-
to-remove = .10, and minimum tolerance =
Stepwise multiple regression was
.001. These above criteria allowed entry to 5
worked out to examine the extent to which
predictors. All the five predictors jointly
weighted combination of certain variables
contributed a multiple R of .53 with a
predicts performance at work. The stepwise
probability level of .0001, indicating that the
regression has an advantage over standard
set of 5 variables is a stronger predictor of job
regression in the sense that it takes only the
significant contributor in the equation.
Regression analysis was performed with
C. R. Darolia, Parveen Kumari, and Shashi Darolia 75

Table 2: Summary of Stepwise Regression level. Continuance commitment was the last
Analysis significant predictor to enter the equation and
Step Variables Multiple R R2 F (Eq) p marked an increase of one percent in variance
1 POS .39 .15 41.63 .00001 already accounted by four variables in the
2 MG .46 .21 16.91 .0001 equation.
3 AC .50 .25 11.18 .001 The results of regression analysis have
4 AB .52 .27 5.77 .02 revealed that five of the independent variables
5 CC .53 .28 4.02 .05 contributed significantly to the prediction of job
Final Statistics performance of industrial workers. The
Multiple R .53 ANOVA df SS MS
independent variables, perceived
organizational support, monetary gain,
R square .28 Regression 5 4902.84 980.57
affective commitment, need for achievement,
Adjusted R
and continuance commitment jointly account
square .27 Residual 225 12425.92 55.23
for 28% of the variance (R 2=.28) in job
Standard error 7.43 F 17.76 p< .00001
performance. The regression coefficients of
Variables in the Equation
these variables are entered in lower portion
Variables B SE of B t p of Table 2. It is clear from the results that the
POS .54 .14 3.78 .0002 regression coefficients of all the four variables
MG .58 .18 3.23 .001 are also significant. The values of regression
AC 1.12 .43 2.57 .01 coefficients indicate the extent to which one
AB .39 .16 2.48 .02 unit change in predictor variable causes
CC .89 .44 2.00 .05 change in the job performances score. By
Results in Table 2 show that POS using complete regression equation we can
contributed maximum to the prediction of job predict one’s scores on job performance by
performance and it entered the equation at entering his scores on the measures of POS,
step one with a multiple R of .39 (p< .00001). MG, AC, N-Ach, and CC. However, the score
POS alone accounted for 15 percent of the predicted so is likely to deviate with in the limit
variance in the dependent variable. Monetary of ±14.56 (SE= 7.43) from the obtained score
gains, a measure of work motivation, entered at 95% confidence level.
the equation at step two and contributed a Discussion
multiple R of .46 (p<.0001) along with POS. In general, the findings of the study
These two predictors accounted for 21 percent provide ample support to most of the
of the variance in JP. At step three affective predictions and pertinent theoretical models.
commitment (AC) was selected for entry into Some of the findings of earlier studies have
the equation. It contributed to the prediction also been substantiated by the present data.
of the work performance with an F-to-enter The present study is one of the few that
11.18 at .001 probability level. Multiple R specifically focuses on the role of perceived
increased to .50 with the entry of affective organizational support in job performance.
commitment in the equation. Need for Although the analysis most pertinent to the
achievement (AB), a dimension of work research objectives is regression analysis,
motivation, appears to be another potent bivariate correlations also throw light on the
predictor of job performance, which took entry nature of various predictors and their
into the equation at step four. Multiple R relationship with work performance. The
increased to .52 with the entry of AB in the results pertaining to the measures of
equation. The F-ratio for this variable equals occupational and organizational commitment
to 5.77 which is significant at .02 probability point to the acceptance and generalizability
76 Determinants of Job Performance

of Meyer et al.’s (1993) three component measures included in the study. It clearly
model across occupations and cultures. The supports the prediction from social exchange
three component model describes the interpretations of employer-employee
relationship between commitment and job relationship. Armeli et al. (1998), Blau (1985),
performance in better than Mowday, Steers, Eisenberger et al. (1986) and Rousseau and
and Porter’s (1979) undimensional construct Parks (1993) also believe that workers trade
of commitment. effort and loyalty to their organizations for
Like Meyer et al.’s (1993) findings, the certain tangible incentives such as pay and
present data indicated clearly that three fringe benefits and such socioemotional
components of organizational commitment are benefits as esteem, approval and caring
differentially related to work performance and results in better performance.
other variables. In tune with the prediction all More precise impact of POS, OC, and
the three components of occupational WM appears in the results of regression
commitment correlated significantly and analysis. Almost fifteen percent of the variance
positively with work performance. More so, in performance of workers is accounted for
confirming some of the earlier studies (e.g., by POS alone. These results, like those of
Irving & Coleman, 1997) affective commitment Armeli et al (1998), and Eisenberger et al.
(AC) has emerged as a stronger correlate of (1986) suggest that POS affects performance
work performance among all the three at work by conveying to employees the
conceptions of OC. These results of significant organization’s propensity to notice and reward
relationship between organizational increased performance. Consistent with
commitment and job performance are in Eisenberger et al (2001) view, POS works the
agreement with a number of earlier studies same way as perceived support from friends
(DeCottis & Summers, 1987; Irving & and relatives, which may fulfill socioemotional
Coleman, 1997; Meyer et al., 1993; Mowday needs in interpersonal relationships. Similar
et al., 1974; Munene, 1995). to Hill (1987) observation motivation for social
All the seven components of work contact and several such needs included in
motivation correlated positively with job the present study are the major sources of
performance. Motivational components influence on behaviour at work. Among
monetary gains, non-financial rewards and n- various components of work motivation
achievement have shown modest degree but monetary gain emerged as most potent factor
significant association with work performance. in performance followed by need for
In overall, the correlations of extrinsic Achievement. Contrary to Kelley’s (1967)
motivators are slightly higher with work observation both extrinsic and intrinsic
performance as compared to intrinsic motivators need to be taken care of in boosting
motivators. This finding provides empirical work outcome. Among the measures of
support to Maslow’s (1943) theory of need organizational commitment, affective
hierarchy. The results point to the importance commitment contributed significantly toward
of distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic job performance. In most of the literature on
motivation (e.g., Herzberg, 1966). It may be OC-job performance relationship affective
seen that like some of the earlier studies (e.g., commitment has been reported to be highly
Kalleberg, 1997; Katz & VanMaanan, 1977) associated with performance at work (e.g.,
intrinsic and extrinsic rewards appear to be Meyer et al., 1993; Mowday et al., 1982; Sood,
complementary to each other. Interestingly, 2002; Wayne, Shorem, & Liden, 1997). It is
POS has yielded relatively higher correlation so because affectively committed people have
with job performance as compared to other emotional bond to their organization and feel
C. R. Darolia, Parveen Kumari, and Shashi Darolia 77

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of some correlates of organizational citizenship Received: August 26, 2009
Revision received: September 29, 2009
Accepted: November 16, 2009
C. R. Darolia, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, Kurukshetra
University, Kurukshetra - 136 119.
Parveen Kumari, PhD, Department of Psychology, Kurukshetra University,
Kurukshetra - 136 119.
Shashi Darolia, PhD, Department of Psychology, University College,
Kurukshetra - 136 119.